Granite is a popular stone for countertops in the kitchen. Find out the characteristics of granite countertops, how much care they require, and at what price they are available.
Kitchen countertops made of sturdy granite are trendy because, in addition to the appearance, the main thing in the kitchen is functionality. In general, there are many popular materials for countertops. For example, countertops are also popular, made of plastic or wood. Particularly high demands are placed on the material for the countertop. It is subject to daily, heavy use because it is carved, quickly put down a hot pot, spilled, and much more here.
The demands on the material are as varied as they are demanding: it should be robust, insensitive to scratches, water-resistant, heat-resistant, easy to clean, and durable – and of course, it should also have a beautiful design and fit in with the overall look of the kitchen. We tell you everything about insensitive natural stone granite and its use in the kitchen.
Natural Stone Granite as a Material for the Countertop
As the popular saying “to bite on granite” suggests, granite is a very hard rock and extremely resistant and resilient – this makes granite perfect for use in the kitchen. It is scratch and cut-resistant and immune to hot pots or pans thanks to its heat-resistant surface.
The natural stone is formed more than two kilometers below the earth’s surface by the slow solidification of liquid magma (molten rock) and thus belongs to the so-called magmatic rocks. Its name is derived from the Latin “granum”, which translates means “grain”. Granite is found worldwide and can be 20 to 400 million years old. The older the stone, the better its technical properties, such as density, flexural strength, and abrasion resistance. The size of the stone slabs varies depending on the variety and occurrence and can be up to twelve meters long.
Appearance and Varieties of Granite Countertops
Granite countertops come in various colors, with many different designs, and from different countries. Their composition is based on irregularly arranged mineral grains such as quartz, feldspar, and mica. The coloration depends on the constituents and regional conditions at the quarrying site, ranging from light gray and blue to brown, yellow, or red.
While gray and red granite are inexpensive, blue and anthracite stones are often expensive. The most important characteristic of genuine granite is a quartz content of at least 20 percent. Each granite stone is unique as a genuine natural product, giving the kitchen extra individuality. Granite is directionless, so it has no grain, and its typical texture can range from pepper- and salt-grain-sized to fist-sized spots.
Among the most popular types of granite are:
- Epprechtstein granite from Bavaria
- Knaupsholz granite from the Harz Mountains
- Bohus Grau Tossene from Sweden
- Petras Salgadas from Portugal
By the way, black granite does not exist in its natural form. Mostly it is the deep stone “Gabbro”, for example, in the musical variants “Nero Assoluto”, “Star Galaxy,” or “Belfast Black”. It is often used when a black work surface with granite-like properties is desired.
Cost of Granite Countertops
Due to the wide product variety of granite countertops, the price range of different qualities also varies significantly in addition to the country of origin, mining, and processing, as well as the hardness of the deep rock influence the price. Thus, exclusive and limited availability of granite countertops can cost up to several thousand euros per square meter. In contrast, granite from China or India is already offered for a few euros per square meter. When buying, it should always be ensured that the granite is produced fairly.
The hard natural stone is sustainable: A granite countertop lasts an average of 25 years. Here, the thickness of the slab also plays a role in the price. Two-centimeter-thick slabs are already available in stores for about $60 per square meter. As a rule of thumb, the more blue the granite contains, the higher the price. Comparatively inexpensive is granite in shades of gray.
Care of the Granite Countertop
One of the many advantages of granite countertops is that they are particularly resistant and, thus, do not require extensive care. However, for the natural stone to shine in its most beautiful splendor for as long as possible, it should be regularly impregnated with a special agent, about every six to twelve months, depending on the amount of use.
Ideally, you simply wipe the granite with a damp cloth after use. But beware: chemicals, lime removers, and cleaning agents containing vinegar can attack the surface of the granite and make it dull; scouring cleaners can even damage it permanently. In the case of heavy soiling, special cleaners tailored to the exact needs of the granite can help. Regular polishing with special stone oils keeps the surface shining for a long time.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Granite Countertops
- easy to clean
- almost indestructible
- particularly durable
- resistant to moisture
- very hygienic
- available in a wide range of colors
- high quality and noble
- often high priced
- unsteady in their pattern
- sensitive to acids and oils
- regularly to impregnate
- cool to the touch